The Diary of Dan Cooper
(© Joseph Rubas)
24, 1971-Itís late, but Iím too wired to sleep. Iíve been sitting here by the
fire listening to the wind shriek for...what, two hours? And all I can think
is, ďGod loves me.Ē That Iím even here proves that. The 200,000 in the
briefcase next to me...well, thatís the icing on the cake.
keep replaying the whole thing over and over again in my mind, and I still
canít believe that I actually did it. I hijacked a fucking airplane and jumped
out of it. I wonít lie, I was scared shitless as I stood on the airstair,
looking out into the vast white vortex before me. It was snowing much harder
than I had anticipated, and the wind was so fierce I had to hold onto the
railing to keep from being sucked away. I almost chickened out. I almost turned
around and went back to the cab. Iíd sit there in the warmth, smoke my
cigarettes and drink my bourbon, and try to come up with another plan. But that
was crazy. Iíd never get away.
I swallowed my fear, closed my eyes, and flung myself into the night.
not sure exactly how cold it was, but rushing toward the ground, it felt like a
million below zero, at least. I must have passed out somewhere in mid-air,
because I donít remember anything between just after I jumped and the moment I
hit the ground.
I came down on a barren ridge rising from the forest (Iíd fully expected my
chute to get caught in a tree) and landed in a big, fluffy pile of snow.
worked to hurriedly cut the chute loose, the wind-driven snow lashing me,
nearly shoving me off of my feet. My fingers were numb, my face was numb, my eyes
were numb. Iíd never been so cold in my life. And stupid me, I was dressed in
nothing but a cheap suit, a pair of briefs, and a cheap, scuffed up pair of
the cord finally snapped, I jumped to my feet and fumbled for the little pocket
compass. West it was. From the drop point, the hunting lodge was maybe three
miles, a little dilapidated shack nestled in a grove of dead trees.
seemed like it took me hours to find the old oak with the red ribbon tied
around the gnarled trunk. Wilhelm, I thought smilingly as I touched it,
knowing I was close. Another ten minutes later, and I was at the cabin. The
front door was locked and the porch collapsing. Around back, the door was
unlocked but I had to clear a shitload of snow before I could open it.
the kitchen was dark and coated with heavy dust. A table and chair lie in
shards on the floor. The cabinets on the pale yellow walls hung askew and the
old refrigerator stood ajar.
shut the door, latched it, and went into the living room. Near the front door,
I found the supplies that Wilhelm had left for me. Food. Medicine. Warm
clothes. A pistol. A flashlight. Some other things. He even included a six pack
of Coca-Cola. The thoughtful old lug.
done, I stoked a fire in the stone hearth with wood Wilhelm had stacked along
the far wall, and spent an hour or so warming up and snacking on beef jerky and
cola. I was too excited to sleep, so I took the flashlight and explored. I
found this notebook in an upper office. A few pages had been used, crowded with
Wilhelmís tight script. Accounting. Something like that. I donít know. Each
used page had a date in the upper right-hand corner. April-August, 1968. I
ripped them out and left them in the drawer.
late, and I have to get some sleep. As much as I donít wanna go back out into
that shit, I canít stay here. The cops will be all over this place by morning.
I'll write more tomorrow. Promise.
25, 1971- I woke up around eight, and wolfed down a can of pork and beans while
looking out the window. The storm left about nine inches, at the very least.
The groundís piled with it and the tree branches are almost snapping under the
glistening white weight. I wonder if theyíll delay starting the search.
Probably not. I better get going.
stopped for the night. Itís about an hour or so before sundown, but I came
across a convenient little cave in a hillside and figured Iíd better be safe in
case I didnít find anything else. I investigated it beforehand to make sure no
cranky bears were inside, and it checked out. There are some strange drawings
on the walls, though, accompanied by alien hieroglyphics. I bet itís left over
from the Indian days. Pretty interesting. I thought of going deeper and seeing
if I could find any pottery, arrowheads, things like that, but decided against
it. If I slip and fall or something, Iím fucked, and I wonít do something
stupid this late in the game. Iím rounding third and heading for home.
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